Friday, June 25, 2010

Editorial Decisions at Facebook Reek of Censorship

Today I had a confrontation with Facebook. The confrontation was based on a post I listed regarding the recall by Kellogg Co. of 28 million boxes of their sugar cereals (here's a link to the article in the Wall Street Journal).

Facebook's actions regarding my posts on this legitimate news story--one which certainly could affect the millions of people who enjoy sugar cereals produced by Kellogg Co.--smack of the worst kind of censorship. You'll read the postings below and decide for yourself, but as a marketer with some experience in the opaque relationships between social media companies and companies trying to sell products (like Kellogg Co.), Facebook's arbitrary and capricious squelching of the facts should alarm all of us who use the platform.

Here's my first post, made at 2:23 PM today:
Kellogg Co. today recalled about 28 million boxes of cereal largely marketed to children out of concern that unpleasant smells and flavors emanating from the boxes' plastic packaging could be causing nausea and diarrhea. Hmmm. Maybe it's all those processed foods in the box that's contributing to the nausea?!

The post lasted about 13 minutes on the news feed, when suddenly it disappeared.

Noticing that my original post has mysteriously disappeared, at 2:38 I posted this:
Conspiracy theory o' the day: Bruce posts on FB a true (but disparaging) comment about Kellogg Co.'s recall of 28 million boxes of sugar-infused cereal. Post is on FB for ten minutes. Post mysteriously disappears from News Feed but remains on Bruce's profile. Question: What is FB's relationship with Kellogg Co.?

Apparently my first post alerted the Facebook Censors, because my second post only lasted less than four minutes on the news feed.

I figured Facebook might want to see the actual source of this information, the venerable Wall Street Journal, so at 2:41 I posted the following:
Dear FB editors: Here's the link to the article about the Kellogg Co.'s recall. Please explain why you are selectively removing my factual posts. What you're doing is censorship, pure and simple. I'm sure Mr. Zuckerberg would have something to say about that.

My friends, like the USSR's Izvestia or Pravda, like the Dear Leader in North Korea, or like any of the other powerful regimes (legislative or commercial) that have throughout history sought with varying degrees of success to suppress the truth, it's painfully apparent that Facebook only wants you to see content that it deems appropriate.